Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Haiti Update (and Prayer Requests)

On Friday afternoon I'm heading to Haiti! Thanks to those of you who have been praying for me and supporting me through your encouragement, donations, and advice. Good news; or team has managed to raise all of our needed support (something we are so very thankful for) and now we are just getting everything ready to go! Jobina was remarking on my preparation - essentially none - and how different our modes of packing are. For her, packing and preparing is half the trip. For me, packing is done half an hour before you go! I'm not exactly feeling nervous about going - but I do occasionally feel a little unsettled about it as I'm not sure what to expect. Today I found out that we might be able to do an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution - that would be extremely cool!

So if you'd like to, please feel free to pray for me. Here are 10 prayer requests for the 10 day's I'll be gone.

Day 1. Safe and efficient travels for me and the team (there and back).
Day 2. Quick adjustment to the new surroundings, culture, and climate.
Day 3. A heart for the people and a desire to share Christ's love with everyone we meet.
Day 4. Unity of spirit as we work on our major project (rebuilding the orphanage).
Day 5. Strength and health (especially my back, protection from disease, etc)
Day 6. That we can do the Shoebox distribution!
Day 7. A love and broken heart for the people of Haiti.
Day 8. Spiritual growth and closeness with God.
Day 9. Courage to do whatever God leads us to.
Day 10. That we come back changed, on fire, and ready to reconnect with our jobs and families.

I think we'll also have a blog going though I'm not sure how often we'll update. The web page is:


Sunday, February 5, 2012


We had a really amazing lady present in our church today. Her name is Marie Enns and she is a lifelong missionary in Cambodia. I've always been interested in Cambodia - it was the first place I tried going overseas and although the trip fell through I've always felt an affinity with it. Marie has a huge ministry there ministering to hundreds - taking in families devastated by AIDS, receiving children who've been abandoned, rescuing women (and sadly) children from the sex trade, helping the elderly, and so many other things. This woman was amazing - her love for the people, Jesus, and life is contagious. She is an extremely competent and faithful woman - the kind who is rare and inspiring. Kind of a Mennonite version of Mother Theresa.

Check out Marie's website here.

Anyway, Marie said something today that kind of blew my mind. She was talking about the problem of AID's in the population and how quickly it spread. She said this:

"100% of Cambodian men use prostitutes."

I was completely shocked. Could this be true (or even close)? It seems unbelievable. But apparently widespread acceptance of prostitution is a part of the culture. I did some research and apparently over 30% of 13 year old boys have slept with a prostitute and 90% of Cambodian men in university use prostitutes A few other quotes:

"Cambodian men are quite ready to admit that they seek the favours of prostitutes, even though they may be married and have two or three girlfriends on the side. It has become very much a part of life. For many Cambodian men, giving his friend a treat means taking him to a brothel. Men who decline such favours are looked upon as unusual, even abnormal."

Leela Barrock, "'Golden Flowers' a Thriving Trade," Business Times (Malaysia), Oct. 14, 1996

"...[L]ocal demand for prostitutes is estimated to contribute between 49 to 70 per cent of the demand for commercial sex in Cambodia. A 'high demand for virgins from Cambodian men fuelling the flow of underage girls into Cambodia's sex trade' was also cited as a concern...

There is a persistent belief among Cambodian men that sleeping with a virgin has rejuvenating powers and can even cure HIV/Aids."

"Locals Fuelling Child Prostitution," Straits Times (Singapore)/Agence France-Presse (AFP), Oct. 7, 2010

(Worldwide prostitution stats: click to enlarge)

As both a Christian and a counselor I cannot imagine how terrible the results are of such evil. An entire country where the vast majority of men use prostitutes? The mental, spiritual, physical, and relations effect on the people (men, women, and especially children) is unfathomable. Marie mentioned the children and women she met having "dead eyes" and I believe it. It is common in Cambodia for families to sell their daughters into sexual slavery and for men to sexually exploit women and children. It makes me ill to think of this but this is the shocking reality.

The work of people like Marie Enns is just a drop in the bucket, but for every woman or child that she rescues from a life of exploitation and hopelessness she is literally saving them from death. Besides protection, her ministry offers healing, hope in Christ, and love. My hope is someday to see her ministry in Cambodia with my own eyes and get involved. In the meantime I ask you to pray for the people of Cambodia who live in such darkness and ask God to raise up more Marie's to go and make a difference.